In 1774, Medicus introduced term lebenskraft, or "life force", a portmanteau of the German lebens, meaning “life” (or “alive”) + kraft meaning “force”, conceptualized as the force responsible for subconscious or autonomic processes, in organisms, such as digestion and respiration. This so-called "lebens force" was paralleled with the “soul”, which Medicus believed was responsible for consciousness. Hence, a person was moved or automated, according to Medicus, via a combination of the soul and a “life force”.
Quotes | On
The following are quotes on Medicus:
- “One trend, in respect to organism and mechanism, derived from the teachings of Georg Stahl, who looked upon the immaterial ‘soul’ as the agency that animated non-living material systems by organizing, regulating and directing them. As Medicus saw it, Stahl exaggerated the commanding control of the soul over all manifestations of life. But Medicus was not happy about the other tendency either. As Medicus saw it, Stahl exaggerated the commanding control of the soul over all manifestations of life. Medicus considered Friedrich Hoffmann (1660-1742), Hermann Boerhaave, and Albrecht Haller as the leading [thinkers]. Medicus was aware of this implied relatedness of the soul and the vital force and, therefore, sought to distinguish between them in a threefold way.”
- — Mikulas Teich (1992), A Documentary History of Biochemistry, 1770-1940 (pg. 438)
- Note: alternatively rendered as: “living force” (verb form) or "vital force" (Greek based), depending on translator.
- Hunter, Graeme. (2000). Vital Forces: the Discovery of the Molecular Basis of Life (pgs. 55). Academic Press.
- Teich, Mikulas. (1992). A Documentary History of Biochemistry, 1770-1940 (pg. 438). Fairleigh.
- Friedrich Medicus (German → English) – Wikipedia.